Apologies for my lack of posts – the beginning of the semester has been a nightmare! I’ve been reteaching myself microeconomics and linear algebra (I haven’t had either since about the 2005-2008 time period) and dropping nightmarish classes (there was a girl with a master’s in math who said the math involved was too difficult). What a start to the week! At least my misspelled purse came and is at least realistic enough for my purposes and the price I paid for it and I had a nice relaxing evening with friends, pizza (from my favorite pizza place which has returned!), and creamy cinnamon rum!
Anyway, I thought before discussing food, I’d give a couple of short updates on my “workouts” this week. I call them “workouts” because technically bike commuting’s purpose is transport, not exercise, but it doubles as both.
First of all, I have started running with my roommate’s dog, River, again. I find this highly amusing because I run with her on a path along the river so if I say I am “river running” it has a double meaning. Yay puns! I tried running with her in the past and it went ok but then she got into this weird phase where she was running away a lot and I had some huge training changes and I didn’t/couldn’t run with her much and stopped. I’ve been taking her at least once a week since coming back to school now (she is much much much more well-behaved on a leash) and I must say I am enjoying it more as time passes. At first, I was annoyed because she is sort of slow (she stops to pee and sniff and just randomly slows down sometimes). The next time I took her out, though, we had a much faster pace and I realized that even if this pace was slower than what I would normally run, I am taking her on what is supposed to be an “easy” run so what she is actually doing is forcing me to slow down and enjoy my run and just get the miles in rather than try to race myself everyday. I am guessing this will be beneficial to my training.
Additionally, on our run this week, I went to check out a path that I had been curious about. I had tried to check it out during the spring but due to the nature of the river (hah!), it was flooded. I had forgotten about it, but someone mentioned it on Facebook and then I saw some joggers going down it and so I had to see if it was passable now – and it was! It was a nice route along the river through the woods (the route we were running was actually mostly in a golf course). It also allows me to circumvent the industrial road that I typically have to ride down on my bike commute to school…if I add a mile to my commute. It’s nice because it’s more relaxing and allows me to go a little faster (you think I’d be faster on the road, but I have to stop, and pay attention to things, and such, which takes up speed).
There is one problem with my new route, however: the extra two miles of biking per day took up WAY more energy than I anticipated. After riding to the school that way on Wednesday, I was STARVING by the time I got there and quickly ate a Clif bar. I’ve been making efforts to pack better lunches (I realized I was still packing lunches the size I took when I was on a 1200 calorie diet!), so I had a decent lunch that day, but by the time I went to work out around 4:30 I was starving. I had a 35 minute tempo run scheduled and I don’t know how I survived it. I got up to my 10K speed as the program recommends and then had to drop down to like 6mph for my cool down because I was soooo worn out. Then, when I finally got off the treadmill, I felt all faint and woozy…and I still had a 4 mile bike commute ahead of me!!! I wolfed down another energy bar (a Larabar ALT this time, which I will discuss in a moment), but it didn’t help much. I had to walk my bike part of the way and then felt sick the rest of the evening. It was very unpleasant. “Luckily” it has been a little rainy yesterday and today so I am taking the bus and my poor legs are getting a rest. They still hurt from Wednesday!!
Now, on to the food. I have several things to talk about this week.
I will give you the unhealthy reviews first so that you can forget I mentioned them and still think this is a blog about health and fitness by the end of the post. I tried two new alcoholic beverages this week: Angry Orchard Cinnful Apple and RumChata. Both are cinnamon-y drinks, and both are amazing. The first is a hard cider with cinnamon in it, which makes me wonder why hard cider doesn’t have it in the first place. The second is a cream liquor (think like Bailey’s, only it tastes way different) which is basically like putting coconut cinnamon milk into drinks. I have been making dessert type drinks (think floats with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream and a creamy soda like root beer or vanilla Coke) with it, and it is pretty awesome!
Ok, now that that’s out of the way, healthy things!
I mentioned last week that I purchased a new bar with a high protein content: Larabar ALT. I bought three flavors, but somehow lost one, so I’ve only tried pumpkin pie and peanut butter cookie. Both are amazing. GO BUY THEM ALL. They have a great consistency and around 200 calories and 10g of protein each, so they are a great snack that tastes just like a dessert. I’ve also purchased a couple new flavors of Clif bars to try this week (Sierra trail mix and chocolate almond) so we will see how that goes.
Another new thing I’ve been eating lately is some new (to me) flavors of Kashi cereals. I had a coupon, so I thought I’d try some of them out. I love the one that is supposed to be like honey nut cheerios (mostly because some of the little o’s are shaped like hearts). The granola type cereal I bought, however, does not really suit my taste. It is a good quality cereal and I would not recommend against it, but it’s not my favorite flavor 😦 I still like it enough that I will use up the box, though.
Another thing I tried that I was underwhelmed by was Kroger brand Greek yogurt. After having good luck with Giant brand back in PA, I thought I’d give this store brand a shot. Again, it’s a taste issue, not a quality issue. Unlike some other cheap Greek yogurts, this one is actually made with nothing but strained milk and active cultures (a lot of cheapies use fillers) and it has plenty of protein (some cheapies have very little). It wasn’t quite as creamy as Chobani or Fage, though, so I wish I’d bought Fage for only 3 cents more per ounce. Still, I would actually HIGHLY recommend this yogurt if you want the benefits of Greek yogurt (i.e. more protein) but don’t like the texture. Because it isn’t as creamy, the texture is more comparable to regular yogurt. I might actually try to find something similar my mom can buy where she is, because this is her problem with Greek yogurt (she has tried several different flavors to no avail, but all expensive brands…maybe the cheapies’ secret is their lack of creaminess…).